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Kai Havertz’s incredible form could spell the end for Arsenal’s £68m ace

Written by on April 30, 2024

The Premier League title might still be out of their hands, but Arsenal put in a performance to be proud of on Sunday afternoon as they ran out 3-2 winners away to Tottenham Hotspur.

Mikel Arteta’s men, seemingly intent on giving their fans heart attacks, came dangerously close to letting their three-goal lead slip in the second half, but a steely backs-to-the-wall performance saw them through. While things looked a little ropey in the end, their team deserves all the praise they are getting, especially Kai Havertz.

The German, once mocked by rival fans, is now one of the Gunners’ most dangerous stars, and he showed that again on Sunday, putting in a performance that could spell trouble for another Arsenal ace.

Kai Havertz’s performance vs Tottenham Hotspur

The yardstick often used to gauge how successful big-money signings are is how they perform in the biggest games, and after a week in which Havertz scored two goals against Chelsea and scored and assisted against Tottenham, it would be hard to describe his summer move as anything other than a success.

There is no more sure way of winning over the fans than putting in big performances against rivals, and it feels as if the former Bayer Leverkusen star has now firmly established himself as a fan favourite among the Arsenal faithful.

His display on Sunday impressed more than just his travelling support, though, as the Standard’s Simon Collings gave the 24-year-old a 9/10 on the day, writing that he put in ‘one of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt’, an opinion that’s hard to disagree with.

Havertz’s game vs Spurs in numbers

Minutes

96′

Goals

1

Assists

1

Shots on Target

1

Touches

46

Key Passes

2

Big Chances Created

1

Aerial Duels (Won)

10 (8)

Fouls Won

2

Clearances

4

Tackles

1

All Sats via Sofascore

That said, if anyone needed any more convincing, they’d just have to take a look at the striker’s numbers from the game. In his 96 minutes of action, the Aachen-born ace scored one goal, provided one assist, took 46 touches, made two key passes, created one big chance, eight out of ten aerial duels, won two fouls and made one tackle.

In all, it was a genuinely impressive showing from a player who had, up until this week, split opinion, and while he’s likely cemented his place in the starting lineup for the season’s remaining games, his brilliant form might just have signalled the beginning of the end for one of his teammates.


Martin-Odegaard-Arsenal-Havertz

Havertz’s excellent form is bad news for Gabriel Jesus

Yes, while Leandro Trossard was comfortably Arsenal’s worst attacker on the day – picking up a 4/10 from Football FanCast for his efforts – the player who could be at risk of losing his spot in the team thanks to Havertz’s form is Gabriel Jesus.

Now, the former Manchester City ace is an incredibly talented player and one who should be playing for a Champions League side – his record of 32 goals in 46 games in the competition is evidence enough of that – but his time as an Arsenal player may well be coming to a close, at least if the Gunners bring in another quality number nine in the summer, that is.


Gabriel-Jesus-Arsenal-Champions-League

The North Londoners have been linked to a plethora of frontmen already this year, such as Ivan Toney, Viktor Gyokeres, Joshua Zirkzee, and Victor Osimhen. If they do bring any of them through the door in the summer, it seems incredibly unlikely that they would also keep both Jesus and Havertz.

So, with that in mind, how do the pair stack up with one another? Well, when it comes to pure output, it’s the recent arrival who comes out ahead, with 13 goals and six assists in 48 appearances – 32 of which were in midfield – to the Brazilian’s eight goals and seven assists in 33 appearances.

Havertz vs Jesus

Stats per 90

Havertz

Jesus

Non-Penalty Goals + Assists

0.51

0.61

Non-Penalty Goals

0.42

0.25

Assists

0.23

0.25

Progressive Carries

1.79

2.24

Progressive Passes

3.65

2.48

Goals per Shot on Target

0.46

0.21

Passing Accuracy

81.1%

78.4%

Shot-Creating Actions

3.43

3.47

Goal-Creating Actions

0.72

0.43

Miscontrols

1.83

3.66

Dispossessed

1.22

2.24

Ball Recoveries

4.22

3.48

Aerial Duels Won

3.35

0.93

All stats via FBref for the 23/24 league season

What about their underlying numbers, then? Does the São Paulo-born ace come out on top there? Unfortunately for the 27-year-old, while he comes out better in certain metrics such as non-penalty expected goals and assists, progressive carries and assists all per 90, he is once again second-best overall, per FBref.

For example, while the “magnificent” German, as described by talent scout Jacek Kulig, registers a lower non-penalty expected goal and assists figure, he scores more often, produces more progressive passes, has a far better goal-to-shots-on-target ratio, maintains a better passing accuracy, produces more goal-creating actions, recovers more balls and wins far more aerial duels, all per 90.

Ultimately, while Jesus is an undeniably gifted forward, if Arsenal can get anywhere near his €80m – £68m – valuation from the CIES Football Observatory this summer, they should consider selling him as if another striker is signed, it seems unlikely that he would be able to displace them and Havertz as well.

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